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How Scholarships Can Help Students Reach Their Full Potential

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The CST Foundation honours achievements and fosters innovation to build a brighter future for students.

Joelle Nesdale-Tucker is a recipient of the CST Foundation’s 2023 Founders’ Award. She’s entering her third year at McGill University, studying psychology, sociology, and behavioural science. 


Like many of her peers, Nesdale-Tucker worked hard to get into McGill, one of the top-ranked universities in the country. “Both my mom and my uncle graduated from McGill, and they really inspired me to pursue a post-secondary education here,” she says.

Nesdale-Tucker has been keen on studying psychology since the seventh grade. “My main goal is to help people on their mental health journey,” she says. “I’d love to be a therapist or counsellor, and I’m also exploring a career in psychometrics to work with patients with neurological disorders.”

Helping students reach their full potential

Nesdale-Tucker’s dream of helping people requires many levels of higher education. With ever-rising tuition and higher prices for food, housing, and other necessities, the financial burden of pursuing post-secondary education can be overwhelming. 

The CST Foundation aims to alleviate this burden. “Our vision is a Canada where all learners receive the support that they need to realize their full potential,” says Sherry MacDonald, President and CEO of the CST Foundation. “We believe that education is critical to success in an individual’s life, career, and family.”

Since 1960, the CST Foundation has awarded over $2 million to more than 200 Canadian post-secondary students like Nesdale-Tucker. The foundation offers two different types of awards: Bursary Awards of $6,000 for students who have completed high school and are starting post-secondary education for the first time, and Founders’ Awards of $7,000 for those who have benefited from a Canadian Scholarship Trust RESP and are starting post-secondary studies.

Scholarships and grants make education more accessible, reduce financial burdens like student loans and debt, and also provide flexibility for different educational expenses, such as books, supplies, and living expenses. 

For Nesdale-Tucker, the grant means she can pursue her goal of being a psychology research assistant next semester. “It’s an unpaid position that I couldn’t do before because I need the income from my part-time job,” she says, “but receiving the CST Founders’ Award makes this exciting opportunity possible.”

Beyond the monetary benefits, Nesdale-Tucker has also noticed a positive shift in her mindset since the grant. “The grant has minimized my financial stress and helped clear my mind, allowing me to focus more on my studies,” she explains. 

From aspirations to achievements

Nesdale-Tucker offers some valuable advice for young Canadians who are considering higher education. 

“There’s so much pressure to figure out what you want to do when you’re entering university,” she says. “Try to block out the noise and just pursue something you’re interested in. If you don’t like it, changing paths isn’t the end of the world!” 

What’s next for Nesdale-Tucker? After finishing her undergraduate degree, she’s going to pursue a master’s degree in psychology. She then wants to quickly get situated in the workforce — ideally as a counsellor — to build up real-world experience, and eventually go back to school for her PhD. 



Awarded in scholarships
and bursaries


Awarded in partnerships with learning-focused community organizations 


Total families impacted through CST initiatives

My goal is to help people on their mental health journey… the CST Founders’ Award makes this possible.

Joelle Nesdale-Tucker,
2023 CST Founders’ Award Winner 

To learn more about how the CST Foundation supports access to post-secondary education or to learn more about its Awards program, visit cstfoundation.ca

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